As preparations for the ‘behind-closed-doors’ Vodacom Durban July near finality, the fashion programme that has been synonymous with the iconic raceday has undergone some major changes, but the event organisers are adamant that fashion must remain a key component of the 124-year-old event.
The event has had to adapt to conform with the prevailing Covid-19 lockdown regulations, and attendance at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse has been stripped right down to core racing staff and the television crew responsible for coverage on DSTV that will bring the race into the homes of July fans.
With no spectators or socialites allowed on course, the vibrant raceday fashion programme has been forced to become a digital experience, as fashionistas are encouraged to dress up to the raceday ‘Butterflies’ theme at home and then share photos and videos on the events social media platforms.
The pre-raceday fashion programme has also had to adapt to the unusual times as well. With no pre-raceday fashion shows allowed, the interest in the build-up to the unveiling of the eight Vodacom Durban July Invited Designer Showcase ranges has been put on ice.
In its place eight luminaries, all of whom are regular participants in the Invited Designer process, have agreed to serve as Guest Designers and will provide ranges for a virtual fashion show that will take place on the day before the Vodacom Durban July.
The eight Guest Designers are local designers Karen Monk Kljinstra, Zama Mathe, Mxolisi Luke Mkhize, Madelain Clark, Hanrie Lues and Sibu Msimang, along with Capetonians Bridget Pickering and Ludwig Bausch of the brand Ruff Tung, and Gauteng-based Paledi Segapo.
They will be joined by a hand-picked tier of emerging design stars representing the Durban Fashion Fair, all of whom have close connections with the Vodacom Durban July fashion programme.
The other major change to the Vodacom Durban July fashion programme has been the rolling out of the important Vodacom Durban July Young Designer Award.
This competition, which is open to fashion design students from across KwaZulu-Natal, has become an integral part of the syllabus at most colleges and technikons in the province and has a long history of kickstarting the fashion design careers of many students who have now become industry stalwarts.
Usually run as a mass first round of judging and then taken through semi-finals at a public show before the final ten designs are formally judged, the lockdown regulations have not only thwarted the traditional process but also kept students away from their colleges and technikons for many months during the lockdown.
Determined to keep this important competition going through the lockdown, the judging has been moved out to culminate in the final judging at the annual Gold Cup raceday at Hollywoodbets Greyville on Saturday 29 August.
“It has been exciting to see the way that the fashion industry has been willing to adapt to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 lockdown regulations,”said fashion programme director Tiffany Prior.
“The ‘Butterflies’ theme is all about metamorphosis and change, and could not have been more appropriate for this unusual Vodacom Durban July. It does prove that fashion will always be a key pillar of this major raceday, and we look forward to it being a vibrant part of the ‘stay-at-home’ Vodacom Durban July and providing some inspiration and excitement during these tough times,”said fashion programme director Tiffany Prior.
The 2020 Vodacom Durban July takes place at Hollywoodbets Greyville Racecourse on Saturday 25 July. More information can be found at www.vodacomdurbanjuly.co.za